Classical at Burton 2020
Seleucid w/Maccabean Allies vs Sassanid Persian
Sunday lunch, that most British of institutions - roast beef, Yorkshire puddings, cauliflower cheese and all the trimmings. Well, perhaps in a previous year but this time the menu at the Town Hall was substantially reduced and so it was bacon and sausage baps all round and a can of full fat coke to make sure the afternoon game didn't descend into slumber.
And, indeed how even could that be possible whilst playing against the more fashionable and stylish half of the Dave & Gordon team (split due to a "retired hurt" incident from the morning which left an uneven number of teams in the final round)?
The final game was another clash of great historical empires, with the Sassanid Persians rocking up across the playing surface this time around replete with no doubt yet more elephants and cataphracts to match up against the Seleukids own more limited inventory of such toys
The lists for the Seleucid w/Maccabean Allies and Sassanid Persian from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Burton can be seen here in the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki.
The Sassanid is an army that gets better at 300 points, as the core expensive troops can be padded out with a few more auxiliaries and skirmishers to boost the army break point. The rest of the army is largely mounted and mobile, so it should be able to concentrate its forces on part of the enemy line whilst skirmishing off an entire flank even at 300 points - so adding more resilience to the battle troops who do get comitted to combat makes a big difference to its overall effectiveness
What's Going on Here Then?
How well do these troops fight then?
Troop type description
The Sausages emerged blinking into the light from a range of comfortable packaging options, landing plumb flat on the tabletop on a table which had sucked most of the actual terrain onto our side of the board.
The Seleukid army would need to struggle through fields, mountains and orchards in order to try and get to grips with the skirmishing and shooting machine that formed the Sassanian army.
Immediately the starting pistol fired the Seleukids could spy in the distance their afternoon opponents hastily redeploying and taking partial advantage of the textbook transverse road to boot.
Yes, despite only having one actual real world commander and deploying second against the Successors choice to defend the Sassanian army didn't get its initial deployment right and had to hastily reshuffle the deck of Dailami and Dogmeat (Levy Spearmen - a little harsh, but fair) to face off the advancing wall of mixed troops approaching them.
These agricultural plains were next to some sort of sea or possibly major lake thingy.
This did give the Seleukids a very hard flank onto which the Galatians, exhausted from their exertions in the preceding game, could rest their weary left shoulders and (presumably) occasionally sneak off and dip their sweaty dangly bits in as well.
The Sassanian army had already decided to screen off this part of the table with a block of the horsemen formerly known as Clibanarii, so all in all it looked like a potentially comfortable day at the seaside for the unclothed maniacs from Galatia was in store.
Further towards the centre of the table the ground got more uneven and the Seleukid army list became more uneven as well.
Carefully skirting fields they planned out how best to advance in a way which only left the Argyaspids in danger of being caught wrong-footed should the enemy Dailami make a Great Leap Forward, Chinese Communist 5-year-plan style to contest the terrain and initiate conflagration super-early in the game.
The Seleukid left flank was stacked full of the very best troops in their army - or, put another way, Adam had finally made a compelling case not to be given the somewhat undercooked holding command of Maccabeans in a 4th successive game of the weekend.
In turn this meant that I would now need to lean repeatedly across the table to get any decent photos of the Cataphracts going into action.
The aforementioned Maccabean Jewish command was instead hiding in a plantation slap bang in the middle of the Seleukid line.
Casually tossing out a skirmish screen of eclectic light foot they knew that as long as they didn't attempt to do anything clever - or, anything at all - they should be able to make it to the end of this last battle of the weekend unscathed.
This would in turn mean that by 5pm they should be more than ready to collect their mercenary pay and nip off home via East Midlands Airport on El Al and catch a flight back to Tel Aviv - although the prospect of spending almost 1,700 years in the departure lounge whilst waiting for powered flight to be invented may mean they would have spent most of their earnings on pre-packaged sandwiches and bottled water by the time they actually took off.
On the complete opposite flank to the waterway the other substantive Seleucid command was presenting some of its eclectic mix of elements to the face of the Sassanians, and in turn they too were pushing a hodge-podge of components back the other way.
Both sides looked to do some clever conjuring with elephants and spearmen, and both were hoping for a decent early shooting result to give their mounted archers an immediate edge on the extremities of the battlefield.
Yeah, but shooting is overrated sometimes.
The Successors didn't really have time to muck about with all that nonsense, and with Camel Disorder factors in their favour as well suddenly lurchd forward into the faces of the Sassanian army mere paces ahead of them.
The Persians were perplexed and surprised - but imperial honour decreed that they should stand and fight rather than fall back. Battle was joined with the end of the line a hard to call matchup between Mediocre Camels and Armoured Cavalry. Ooh!
On the waterside side of the table the Sassanid horse archery was making little impact on the well screened and well-morale'd Seleucid infantry who simply marched forward to close quarters and stared down their horse-borne opponents, shrugging off their outrageous arrows with good fortune.
With the Sassanian Asarvan seemingly distracted by having naked Galatian body parts in such close proximity, the Seleukids managed to somehow slip an inconspicuous elephant past the end of their line throwing a huge grey spanner into the Sassanian plan to fall back in good order.
The photo-realistic field in the middle of the table looked best when viewed directly from above, and so due to contractual obligations to the digital rights holder this obligatory perspective view was hard to avoid including.
With the Argyaspids reluctant to commit themselves into the disordering terrain with Dailami threatening, suddenly an opportunity presented itself for the Maccabeans
Without a moment's hesitation they decided to form up and march out of their hiding place and into contention to actually play a proper part in the game!
As the Seleukids pushed back the Sassanian horsemen on the beachfront aspect they started to get significantly past the Plantation, potentially exposing a flank which up until then had been well covered by both the now-absent Maccabees and the branches and fronds of whatever vaguely plastic vegetable or fruit bearing bushes supposedly grew in the somewhat sparse plantation.
Cataphracts peeled off the end of the Seleukid line like cyberpunk banana-skins and faced down the near-identical Sassanian upgraded Asarvan in a careful move to buy time for the Phalanx to shove the other block of Asarvan off the back of their table.
The permanently retreating and dramatically outgunned Asarvan were already approaching their textbook Transverse road denoting a point on the playing surface well within their initial deployment area as the left wing of the Successor army continued to drive them back at speed, cackling madly as they became increasingly heady on their success
Presenting their horses rears to the priapic and unclothed Galatians was a risk, but one they had little choice ovr when rolling short for evade moves - they could but pray that the short of stature barbarian warriors had not come to this battle equipped with folding stepladders with which to better fulfil any bestiality-based martial fantasies these hairy savages might secretly harbour.
The lack of combat but surfeit of movement on the Successor left was mirrored in reverse on the opposite flank, where combat had been ongoing for several turns already and where gaps were starting to appear in both sets of lines.
Covered by the Maccabees some of the Argyaspids had ventured forward into the terrain whilst the Baggage Guard Camels continued a seemingly pointless and endless struggle against Asarvan seemingly committed to tie every round of combat by invoking their Armour +1.
But combat could not be bloodless forever. Yet another contractually obligatory drones-eye-view of the photo-realistic terrain revealed an increasingly shredded set of lines of opposing troops
Gaps opened up like a boxers smile between the still-intact components of both armies.
Maccabeans and Seleukids
Back in the centre of the table the absence of the Maccabees was being cursed loudly by Swleukia's Cataphract Corps as they struggled tin-manfully to hold back a huge tidal wave of steel-clad Sassanian royalty pushing forward past the plantation.
The Sassanians had a huge advantage in Cataphract numbers in this part of the table, and they and their accompanying baggage train of pastoral animals were therefore fully convinced it would be only moments before they had finished off the Seleukids and would then be rolling over the flank of the Seleukid Phalanx off in the distance in the very near future.
The unzipped right flank had by now revealed itself as a place where the Seleukid army had been left with far more teeth than the Sassanians - sort of a Bee Gees vs Shane McGowan mashup in which Fairytale of New York is reinterpreted with close harmonies and a disco beat, where the resulting YouTube video involves elephants being charged in the flank at high speed.
This particular tune was probably not one the Sassanid Emperor would have wanted to hear, but having pressed the 'play' button it was one he would struggle to now press "pause" on.
Suddenly the VHS tape on which this desperately unfeasible video had been recorded snapped and the Sassanid line of battle dramatically unspooled all over the tabletop leaving naught but wide open spaces in front of most of the somewhat surprised (and by now probably deaf for life) Seleukid and Maccabean forces.
This part of the battle seemed to have broken decisively for them, and now the challenge was to maximise the mopping up operation to rack up as many of the Sassanid reserves as possible.
As this musical catastrophe unfolded the waterside flank was largely unchanged, with the Sassanids still bogged down against a surprisingly resilient Seleukid Cataphract corps who were pulling out of the bag all of the decent dice they had so consistently failed to deploy in the morning's game.
The ever-advancing Galatians had by now managed to catch and remove a handful of the retreating Asarvan as well (aided by their pet elephant) and were closing in on pushing the rest of the Persian horsemen off table.
This in turn freed up some of their accompanying Phalangites to swing about and ready themselves to hold up any Sassanid Cataphracts who managed to successfully chew their way through the Successor tin men's ablative shield.
As has been previously noted, mopping up was the order of the day on the opposite flank, and two of the surviving Sassanian Asarvan were very much in the sights of the Seleukid's laser-pointer-assisted mops this afternoon.
Despite being on the opposite flank to the waterway the supposedly potent Persian mounted archers were very much all at sea, so far separated from their commander as to be unsure of what to do as an eclectic collection of enemies homed in on them from all sides.
Another huge lurch forward from the trouser-avoiding Galatians saw the remaining Asarvan (who were properly in Budweiser Lite territory by being very close to water) almost fall off the back of the table for real this time. incoming
This looked like an early Christmas present of at least 3 more break points safely in the bag
L'Art de la Guerre hint - units who evade off table count as one loss to their army, those killed in combat or by shooting count as 2 lost points.
The Maccabeans had done pretty well in their pseudo-agricultural role of taking control of the photo-realistic field but having swept it clean of enemy forces they had gotten over-confident.
Jumping out into the dangerous flat open ground to try and attack some enemy flanks the lightly armed and armoured well-tanned infantry suddenly realised that they were not quite so effective as they hoped, and soon they were in deep trouble as the Sassanian Cataphract brushed off these initial pinprick assaults, turned around and started to fight back.
The stray Asarvan on the beach-free flank were now subject to some energetic environmental remediation processes as the multiple components of the Successor command sought to sweep them away from the table.
Name of Video
The Maccabees suddenly awoke to their predicament, and conjured up some heroics of their own to respond to the strenuous efforts the Sassanid Cataphracts had been making to finish them off on better ground.
However, with the bastion of Phalangites finally succumbing to attrition and overlaps even a win for the Maccabee General was sure to provide only brief respite and open up a pathway for yet more potent Cataphract assaults.
In front of the central plantation and hill the Seleukids had found time and men to plug any number of Phalangites into the breach once occupied by their Cataphract Corps, provoking howls of metal-clad frustration from the seemingly impotent Sassanians.
The Persians could see time and table running out yet could not work out how they had failed to break through here, despite their seeming superiority in both troop numbers and in sartorial elegance with their fashionable array of stylish green cloaks.
With the edge of the table looming the beachside Asarvan decided that it was time to spill some ice-cream and say to hell with the factor 50
Real risks now needed to be taken to salvage some points and pride from the looming defeat. Toughing it out some of the horse archers stood firm to try and slow the Seleukid advance.
Having finally polished off the two non-beachside Asarvan the Seleukid right flank was now ready and able to race forward to try and sweep away the remaining dregs and barrel-scrapings of Sassanian infantry left in their sector of the tabletop.
Levy spearmen, more used to lurking at the back and cheering their fighting men on now found themselves facing Roman Argyaspids in full testudo formation as elephants and pikemen hovered in the background keen to play their part in the looming victory.
With light fading over the hall, exhaustion cast a dark pall over the Persian forces.
Their religion may have been one where worship of the sun played a central role, but here on a grey and rainy Burton late Sunday afternoon their spirits and their prospects were facing a very definite dying of the light as the Successors inched ever closer towards victory
Name of Video
The Argyaspids closed out their part of the game with Roman-levels of efficiency. The somewhat exhausted elephant was relieved not to be asked to play a part.
L'Art de la Guerre hint - elephants cant rally off cohesion losses in ADLG. Once they take hits they are permanently degraded for the rest of the game
Fittingly perhaps the final act was gifted to the command of the Galatians.
Pressing forward relentlessly all game they and their accompanying half-death star supporters finally secured the necessary points to tip the Persian army into defeat, and to record a 3rd victory for Seleukia!
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Post Match Summary from the Seleucid w/Maccabean Allies Commander
Text analysis 1
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
Hannibal Reply 1
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